April 15, 2024

Spanish Fashion Firm Buys Controlling Stake in Gaultier

NEW YORK — Jean Paul Gaultier, the French designer whose fashion house has been in partnership with Hermès since 1999, said Tuesday that Puig Beauty Fashion Group, a Spanish company whose primary focus is perfumes, was acquiring a controlling 60 percent share of the company.

Hermès said it had agreed to sell its 45 percent stake in Gaultier to Puig for €16 million, or about $24 million, and the Spanish company will also assume €14 million of the Gaultier house’s debt. Hermès had said last month that it was in talks with several potential buyers for Gaultier.

“I am delighted with this move for a house that is dear to our heart,” Patrick Thomas, Hermès’s chief executive, said in a statement. “I am convinced that the alliance between Jean Paul Gaultier and the Puig family will take the house to new highs.”

Mr. Gaultier, who had owned 55 percent of his house, is selling a 15 percent stake to Puig. “It gives me a lot of joy,” he said. “I am not interested in management, I love clothes and I will have the freedom to concentrate on that.”

Marc Puig, chairman and chief executive of Puig, based in Barcelona, said in a statement that his company was “very proud to take over from Hermès and continue the development” of “a brand with such great creativity.”

The Spanish company supports the fashion houses of Nina Ricci, Carolina Herrera and Paco Rabanne and creates fragrances for Comme des Garçons, Prada and the actor Antonio Banderas. The company is growing and eager to raise its profile beyond Europe, where it does more than half of its business.

Hermès is repositioning itself after the unwelcome intrusion into its capital by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the luxury conglomerate run by Bernard Arnault. LVMH now holds more than 20 percent of the equity in Hermès, though the ownership structure of the family-controlled luxury company gives Hermès effective control of its destiny for now.

Mr. Gaultier’s cheeky fragrances, including some in bottles shaped like a woman’s body, have been a long-term financial success, making the brand attractive to Puig despite weaknesses elsewhere in the Gaultier line-up. The haute couture line, founded in 1997, just breaks even, although it has a regular clientele. Mr. Gaultier said that high-end fashion would be continued in the new deal.

Mr. Gaultier became known in the 1970s for channeling street style and diverse cultures into French fashion. His impertinent and outrageous creations, which included cross-gender models on the catwalk, have been worn by rock stars from Madonna to Lady Gaga. He has also worked with the Spanish film director Pedro Almodóvar.

Puig, founded as a cosmetics company in 1914 by Antonio Puig, booked net profit of €130 million last year on revenue of €1.2 billion. Its share of the so-called prestige perfume market rose to 7 percent last year from 3.7 percent in 2005, the company said.

David Jolly reported from Paris.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=25455d187bcc2358d9606ac5c06fce30

Speak Your Mind